Online Folk and Bluegrass Radio Station

By NewFolkRadio
February 22, 2012 - 6:15 am

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Portland, Or. — is a new composite Internet radio station that has just announced its online launch. The station, based in Portland, Oregon, plays roots, traditional folk, new folk, and bluegrass 24/7 without subscription fees.

What makes the station fall into the category of composite is its split personality: on the desktop or laptop, you can create your own playlist from the station's large library of songs, and on your smartphone or tablet, you can listen to NewFolkRadio as a streaming broadcast, or with one click you can transfer your own playlist to a mobile player for on the go listening. is the first Internet station to feature custom playlists for listeners on the go. With just one click, a listener can save a custom playlist and have it available on any mobile device, such as smartphones and tablets.

The founder of, John Hart, has been involved with folk, roots and bluegrass music since the early 60's when he learned to play 5-string banjo by slowing down the vinyl records of Flatt & Scruggs. "In today's marketplace, it's frustrating to listen to folk, roots and bluegrass music that I want to hear without paying a subscription fee, so I started NewFolkRadio, and it will always be free. It's an advertising business model," he said. launched on January 3, 2012, and already has hundreds of listeners, 53% of whom are repeat listeners (stats provided by Google Analytics), according to Hart. "I really want to promote local bands in each city who are in the process of recording a CD or already have a CD but have little exposure yet," Hart said. He added, "Northwest bands have already started to jump on board, but I'm anxious to have undiscovered bands around the world on our station." is an organizational member of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), and a signatory to ASCAP and BMI. NewFolkRadio requires Adobe's free Shockwave player for desktop or laptop performance, but not for smartphones or tablets.

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Reader Comments

Scott Tichenor
February 22, 2012 06:25 AM
I felt it necessary to point out a few things and possibly ask for confirmation of my experience by others.

1) You need Shockwave installed, a free plug-in from Adobe that not necessarily everyone might have.
2) The Widgets which provide the functionality can be very slow to load.
3) I never could get some functions to work properly such as the streaming of 10 random songs.
4) Experienced considerable delays getting single songs to play.

Experienced these on a very fast connection on both Macintosh and PC and at different times of the day. I love the concept behind the site and am totally supportive of this kind of use of the web but usability issues make it a non-starter for me. Possibly it's a growing pain or heavy traffic from launch. I'm hoping this was just my experience.
February 22, 2012 07:54 AM
After installing Shockwave and having the widgets finally load, I was unable to play any song at all with Chrome on Vista. :(
Mo Soar
February 22, 2012 10:32 AM
Firefox 10 on Win7 64 BUT slow internet connection (the wonders of rural living) - it works, after about 25 minutes of dinking around with it, but it's too bandwidth intensive for me and the buffering gets very old very fast. Back to Pandora I go.
February 22, 2012 12:24 PM
[FONT=Verdana]thanks to Scott for raising awareness. I went to the site and of course my expectations dropped when I saw the shock wave requirement. But to my delight in the lower right hand corner was a link to a tablet/smart phone micro site. May not have the custom playlist functionality but it works like a charm on my iPad. Finally an alternative to Sirius xm![/FONT]
February 22, 2012 11:54 PM
The shockwave interface didn't work for me either. However, the mobile streaming link works just fine on my PC running firefox.
Barry Wilson
February 23, 2012 04:35 AM
I had a bit of a glitch first installing the shockwave but since have been just loading it random 10 tunes to jam with. way too much fun. I have no idea what songs these are but I like it. I am a newgrass newb ;)

old puter 528mb ram, xp, IE8 plays fine now.
February 23, 2012 11:15 AM
Initial load up of widgets and shockwave player install aside, the 10 random songs played fine for me but when I tried to click on artis name it was supposed to take me to their website. What really happened is the sound stopped and that was all. I had to reload the songs and start over. Hitting the next button on the playlist worked but sometimes it didn't highlight the correct song. A little glitchy but love the idea. WinXP & Chrome.
February 23, 2012 12:07 PM
I spoke too soon. I have to refresh the page every so often to keep things going. It's been stuck on picking my 10 songs for 45 minutes.
Justus True Waldron
February 23, 2012 02:56 PM
Weird, worked fine for me on Win 7 and chrome... pretty decent 10 song selection, too...
March 01, 2012 12:41 PM